News Releases

September 18, 2007

Emory Names Timothy W. Olsen Ophthalmology Chair, Director of Emory Eye Center

ATLANTA - Timothy W. Olsen, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, and director of Emory Eye Center. He will hold the F. Phinizy Calhoun Sr. Chair. His appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Dr. Olsen currently is professor of ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota, where he has served since 1998. He holds the William H. Knobloch Retina Chair and serves as the director of Retina and director of the Minnesota Lions Macular Degeneration Center at the university, established in 1998 under his leadership.

"Dr. Tim Olsen brings to the Department of Ophthalmology his natural ability to teach and train, combined with a keen interest in important research in blinding eye diseases," says Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of the Emory School of Medicine. "He has combined an active clinical and surgical practice with highly focused research on age-related macular degeneration. “

Research conducted by Dr. Olsen on proteins of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using the Minnesota Grading System (MGS) has won awards internationally. He has collaborated with fellow scientists to develop novel surgical instrumentation and methodology for translocating damaged tissue in advanced cases of AMD. Additional translational studies by Dr. Olsen include novel drug delivery techniques for macular diseases. He holds a patent, along with investigators at Emory, Dr Jeffrey H. Boatright, PhD, and others, on the use of bile acids for treatment of retinal degenerations (currently licensed to industry).

Prior to the University of Minnesota, Dr. Olsen served as assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Vitreoretinal Surgery and Diseases from 1996 to 1998.

Dr. Olsen graduated summa cum laude with a BA from the University of Kansas and received his MD from the same institution in 1989. He completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Minnesota (1993) and a vitreoretinal fellowship at Emory University (1994-96). He held several scholarships while in training and holds six distinguished teaching awards from four universities.

Dr. Olsen is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He holds memberships in macula and retina societies as well as the Society of Heed Fellows, American Society of Retina Specialists, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). He serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS). He is the principal investigator on both basic and clinical studies and has grants totaling more than $3 million.

"I’m greatly honored to be named as the next chair of Ophthalmology and director of the Emory Eye Center," says Dr. Olsen. "To follow in the footsteps of a giant in our field, Dr. Tom Aaberg Sr., is indeed humbling. Dr. Aaberg and the faculty in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Emory Eye Center have positioned the department to be the very best program in the country, and I am very excited to be a part of it."

Media Contact: Joy H. Bell,, 404-778-3711

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